Law enforcement officials in South Carolina and North Carolina are looking for suspects dressed in clown costumes who have tried in recent weeks to lure children into nearby woods with treats.
In North Carolina, Winston-Salem police received a call Sunday night about a clown looking to lure children into the woods. At least two children saw the clown and one adult heard the clown, but did not actually witness the suspect, ABC11 reported Monday. The suspect fled when officers arrived on the scene.
Another clown sighting was reported a few hours later about two miles away. Attempts to find the person were not successful, WRAL reported.
A similar case recently was reported about 175 miles in Greensville, South Carolina, where police received reports of “people dressed as clowns" appearing in the area in late August.
Donna Arnold, a Greensville resident, told police her son and others spotted the clowns behind a nearby basketball court, Fox 8 reported Aug. 27. “I thought my child was seeing things,” Arnold told the news outlet. “And the next day I had about 30 kids come up to me and say, ‘Did you see the clown in the woods?”
A woman told officials her son had “seen clowns in the woods whispering and making strange noises.” One 12-year-old told deputies he saw two clowns in his backyard.
The children said the clowns lived in “a house located near a pond at the end of a man-made trail in the woods,” according to a police report.
It is not apparent if there are multiple suspects involved in the clown sightings. The suspects have been described as wearing clown garb: A costume of white overalls, white gloves, red shoes, red bushy hair, a red nose and a white face.
Police have urged anyone with information about the clown sightings to contact officials.
“The clowning around needs to stop,” said Greenville police chief Ken Miller at a press conference Thursday. “It’s illegal, it’s dangerous, it’s inappropriate, it’s creating community concern.”